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On average, 124 construction workers lose their lives every year while performing their jobs on roadsides. They’re not the only ones at risk. Police officers, paramedics, utility workers, and tow truck drivers also regularly find themselves in danger of being struck by a vehicle while working on the shoulder of the road. That’s why Georgia has a Move Over Law.
Georgia’s Move Over Law affects first responders and construction, utility, and maintenance vehicles. On roads with two or more lanes, drivers cannot use the lane closest to the shoulder when one of these vehicles is stopped and using flashing lights. Drivers must move over, providing a buffer lane between themselves and the working vehicle. If moving to the left lane is impossible or unsafe due to traffic or road conditions, the motorist must instead slow down significantly below the posted speed limit.
This law reduces hazardous working conditions, but many motorists are unaware that it exists. They unintentionally pose a danger to people working on roadsides, not to mention their licenses and pocketbooks. Failure to follow the law can result in a ticket of up to $500 per state law. The total fine could be several hundred dollars higher due to additional local fees. Motorists will also see several points added to their licenses, and they could experience insurance increases as a result.
You may think the penalty sounds steep, but it’s nothing compared to the effects of an accident. If your failure to move over or slow down causes a collision, you could be liable for any resulting injury or death. Penalties can include a loss of driving privileges, a requirement to pay restitution to a victim or their family, or even time in jail.
Georgia is not the only place with a Move Over Law; in fact, all 50 states have some sort of statute on the books. Moving over is not only your legal responsibility but also good common sense. The next time you see a working vehicle with flashing lights, remember: Move over one lane to the left, and if that’s impossible, slow down significantly. It’s well worth the minor inconvenience.